Friday, June 16, 2006

ALTA member spotlight #1: Inara Cedrins


block print by Inara Cedrins
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

I'd like to interview or spotlight new ALTA members each week, if I can, on the blog. This might build up some nice excitement for the upcoming ALTA literary translation conference this fall!

This week I'm happy to introduce Inara Cedrins, an American artist, writer and translator from the Latvian. She was a member of ALTA when it first started, but left writing and translation for years to become an artist for the next twelve years. (Welcome back to ALTA, Inara!) She did publicity for galleries, studied for her M.A. in Arts Administration, and has now returned to writing.

There's an excerpt from her upcoming anthology of contemporary Chinese poetry, here online at thedrunkenboat.com. And right now her exhibit of linoleum block prints, "Riga Facades", is open right now in Riga. They'll be used to illustrate another of Inara's forthcoming books, Fugitive Connections, published by the Virtual Artists Collaborative in Chicago.

It's inspiring to me to see the range and depth of the work of many translators. Inara has tons of projects and clearly does a lot of work for her communities! As I added links and googled Inara's work, I came across this lovely poem: Fresh Snow and Lace, which is not a translation but which I think poetry translators might especially enjoy. I read it and saw the (unspoken) lacy-bitter inside of the pomegranate.

Rather than do an online interview, Inara wrote up a description of her projects, so I'll just give you that, and will add some links and markup. She answers most of the questions I would have asked in the interview about her projects and plans.


I repatriated to Latvia a year ago and have started a literary agency in Riga called The Baltic Edge to represent writers in the Baltic countries, Sweden, Finland, Poland and Siberia. I am personally working on an anthology of Baltic poetry (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia); I edited an issue of the online magazine Omega featuring Latvian poets (accessible at www.howlingdogpress.com/OMEGA05 ), and am developing it from that. I will edit a future issue of the online journal The Drunken Boat featuring Estonian poets.

I plan to edit and translate in the next year a collection of Latvian prose poetry, including twenty poets with five poems by each; I'm in contact with poets in Lithuania and Estonia, and with translators who could do a parallel book for each country. These books could be a boxed set; since the Baltic poetry anthology has some 200 poems in each section, perhaps it could also be three books in a boxed set.

I spent the past seven years in China and Nepal, and have an anthology of contemporary Chinese poetry very near completion; it has sections for mainland Chinese poets, minority poets in China, poets in Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore and Taiwan, each to be introduced by an essay. An issue of selections from this, plus chapbooks featuring individual poets/projects, will form the spring issue of The Drunken Boat, online in about three weeks. The Atlanta Review has asked me to be contributing editor for their 2008 Chinese issue.

I went to China in 1998 to learn to paint on silk, and remained for five years to teach writing and lecture on art at universities including Tsinghua University and Peking University in Beijing, as well as to the People's Liberation Army and students at the Central Academy of Fine Art. I had two chapbooks of poetry published bilingually in Chinese and English by the Chinese Literature Press in Beijing, about China and Egypt: I had planned to follow these with one focusing on India (Honey Water in the Harsh Palace, completed and translated into Hindi) and one on Nepal (Sky Womb, in progress, I would like it translated into Nepali). I would like the chapbook about Egypt, titled Afterlife, to be translated into Arabic, and would like it republished, along with Snake Alley with the Chinese translation in the traditional characters still used in Taiwan and Hong Kong (I have this conversion). In 2003 I relocated to Nepal where I studied the technique of thangka painting, wrote a book on Symbols and Gods of Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism in Nepal for Pilgrims Press and coordinated the illustrations by a Tibetan thangka painter and a Newari artist. Upon the king's coup d'etat fourteen months ago, I left with my Nepali husband, and came to Latvia.


I have a manuscript of my own poetry written while in China, called Buried Wine, have completed a manuscript of short stories written during and about my time in China, and am working on a trilogy of novels based there, in Beijing and Guangzhou, and encompassing journeys through China, Tibet, Nepal and India; the first, titled The Hotel Sunshine, has been accepted for publication by Petergailis in Riga and will be translated into Latvian. I also have a manuscript of poetry titled Fugitive Connections; the first section, relating to Latvia, has been translated into Latvian. I am beginning a collection of poetry set in Europe. My writing has been referred to as "the saga of a female Odysseus"; each of my collections of poetry brings the reader a complete absorption in a culture.

My first anthology, Contemporary Latvian Poetry, was published by the University of Iowa Press in 1981; my chapbook of translations of the poetry of Astrid Ivask, At the Fallow's Edge, was a Small Press Book of the Month Club selection and went into a second edition. My poems, stories and translations from the Latvian have appeared in The North American Review, Chelsea, Prairie Schooner, The Portland Int'l. Review, The Ledge, The Minnesota Review, Translation/ Columbia University, the Massachusetts Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Atlanta Review, New Letters and The Chariton Review, among others; online poetry journals include Writing Macao, poetrybillboard.com, Omega 3, 4, 5, Howling Dog Press, and the Atlanta Review.



I am now a member of the Latvian Writers Union. I teach Creative Writing at the University of Latvia, and have been asked to teach a course in translation, and one in American, British and World Literature and Drama, in the future - I have written a textbook for the latter which they plan to publish.



I am having a great deal of trouble finding publishers for poetry, and would appreciate it if your profile would draw attention from a publisher. Also, I am looking for translators of my poetry chapbooks into Arabic and Nepali; possibly the description of my work would attract someone?


I'd like, too, to include the announcement of her June 2006 art show in Riga:

Maksliniece Inara Cedrina un
Ipasu uzdevumu ministra sabiedribas integracijas lietas sekretariats
Ieludz Jus uz izstades
RIGAS FASADES (grafika) un zida gleznojumi (sena Kinas tehnika)
atklasanas pasakumu 2006.gada 8.junija, plkst. 16.00
Blaumana iela 5a, 5.stava, Riga
Izstade bus apskatama lidz 2006.gada 23.junijam no plkst.9.00 lidz 16.00

Inara Cedrins and the Secretariat of the Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration invite you to an exhibit of
RIGA FACADES
linoleum block prints
and Chinese ink on silk paintings
Opening June 8th 4 p.m.
Blaumaòa iela 5a, 5th Floor, Riga
Until June 23rd
Weekdays 9-4

9 comments:

Laura the 06 Host said...

Wow, what a varied and interesting life! Thanks for introducing us to her, Liz. I sure hope that she will be at our conference so that I will get a chance to meet her.

beissirissa said...

Interesting blog about your thirst for lust, keep up the good work thirst for lust

beissirissa said...

Interesting blog about your passion poems by sherry, keep up the good work passion poems by sherry

Mukul Dahal said...

Hello, I am writing from Nepal. I am pleased to know that you have spent a period in Nepal. You have talked about translation. I write poetry both in nepali and english. Besides, I have translated a number of poets from Nepal including myself. I am interested to know about ALTAlk. What is it? and how can I join? Hope I get response at my email mukulnp@hotmail.com
The ezine I edit is Pen Himalaya http://penhimalaya.netfirms.com

Liz said...

Hello Mukul! I will pass your comment over email to Inara and will also reply by email to you. ALTA is the American Literary Translators Association, and is a group of literary translators who are in or near the U.S. or who publish or work in the U.S. I know there are many members who don't live in the U.S.

This is a blog by some members of ALTA to talk about translation. If you join ALTA then you can also join the email list for its members.

See http://literarytranslators.org for more information on membership!


Best,

Liz Henry

Anonymous said...

Cool blog, interesting information... Keep it UP » »

Spring said...

Dear Sir,
I am a writer and poet of China, I wrote a lot of literatures, especially poems.
I want to find a translator to translate these beautiful poems and publish them in your country. I saw your information on internet ,so email you. If possible, I hope we can co-work.

your sincerely
Spring Wills
(i can use chinese and english)

(phone : 9am -9pm China time)
my tel : 86 20 61297726
or 86 756 8678891

the following 5 poems are examples of my poems

他没有罪 却吞下了一碗毒酒

他没有罪 却吞下了一碗毒酒
那些判他刑的
不配穿体面的衣服

野牛长的像黑碳
那个以上帝名义借钱的
从来就没还

历史书向后人问候早安
墓志铭不讲理
风流才子扮演一头驴

上帝生了气
厌烦证明灵魂问题
是非曲直依仗骂人的嘴

有人站在一旁
顺着贼的诡计说假话
冷剑击伤了我妹妹的骏马

世界上有的是毒酒
擅饮的英雄已经离去
只剩下我妹妹的眼睛


我是个与深夜邂逅的人

我是个与深夜邂逅的人
白天的名单把我遗漏了
我的特权就是寻找合理的线索
用怀旧的情绪说预言

无底的深渊钻出一头怪物
它怀着男子气概
向宿命挑战

当犹大亲吻耶稣的时候
芸芸众生失去了认识英雄的本能
我揣着负债累累的灵魂
看见魔术师变换着善人与恶人的典型

在天之灵不会死
我渴望领袖的统治
与深夜邂逅的人
欲火焚身



四海的水相连


四海的水相连
它们原本来自同一个地方
来自世界的起初
承载着神的灵
覆盖着地的空虚混沌

既然水诞生在光之前
那么 孕育我生命的母亲
一定忍受过等待的黑暗

天父撒下光明的种子
你怀孕了
那一颗美丽的单细胞
经历了亿万年
生长成一个蓬勃的春天

人说
水是我的母亲
光是我的父亲
亚历山大相信神话
我为梦想去追寻





一群妖精在歌唱

一群妖精在歌唱
仔细听
一个妖精唱到:
多么悲伤 她就要死亡
让我们一起唱歌为她送葬
她如此年轻
即使生命消失
灵魂的容器也照样散发芬芳
啊,美人
随你的情人一起出发吧
他与你共赴天堂

另一个妖精唱到:
不,他没有罪
如果爱高于生命
他有追求爱的权利
我祈求我的主神
他应该属于天堂
他不属于地狱

第三位妖精唱到:
我曾企图引诱他睡在我的玫瑰床上
他却拒绝了我的每一位姐妹
他的忠诚和专一
足可以让天下情人妒嫉


第四位妖精唱到:
如果煤气不能将血液凝固
两颗心怎能一起安睡
睡吧,这是完美的睡眠
梦中的旅行将会很长
穿过星空 游览月亮
最美的音乐是一种寂静的光

第五位妖精唱到:
他和她一起来到天国门前
爱神的手轻轻将他牵引:
我的孩子
你们创造了爱的形式
温柔的烈焰烧毁了腐朽的肉体
因为我爱你们
所以丢下那一颗火星
为爱的形式获得重生

五位妖精齐唱:
爱不会死,爱就是永生
当爱情在睡眠中燃烧成火炬
在天堂的门口
复活的爱有了新形势
在爱神面前
爱的形式 爱的实质
终于圆满完成


我参加朋友的婚礼

我参加朋友的婚礼,
在那个场合 每一个人都举起酒杯
我知道 我手里的这一杯是没有酿造的酒
我的嘴角挂着笑 心里装着悲

流浪汉把空气灌醉
然后 睡在露水地
不是每一个英雄都擅长喝酒
我翻个了身 当作温柔的被

如果水泥掺进了蜂蜜
泥瓦匠和我饮同一杯
蜜蜂和蝴蝶从此断绝来往
有谁记得那个婚礼的宴席

长翅膀的天使有时也会麻痹
他们犯了错 就悄悄逃逸
我的酒杯太沉 里面盛着个人
我不知道他是天使还是魔鬼?

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